AEROSOL EUROPE: Caprosol AG has taken part in the ADF in Paris several times already. What have you got lined up this year to impress the visitors?
Harry Brühlmeier: Despite being a newcomer in the packaging market, there’s always huge interest in our innovative processes. With the introduction of our very latest laser integration, we are covering a need in the marketplace that is set to generate considerable interest, even if it is a general line application. Thanks to the wide audience, finding potential buyers is unlikely to be a challenge.
AEROSOL EUROPE: Once again, you’ve developed an extremely promising process in the field of tinplate packaging. Please tell us about it.
Harry Brühlmeier: A wide variety of containers, be they canisters, hobbocks or buckets, are affixed with handles or brackets, using the necessary supports. Standard electrical welding procedures will burn any coating on the inside of the container. For proper corrosion protection, the welding point has to be omitted during the coating process so that a protective coating can be applied after the welding is completed. This is time-consuming and comprises numerous process steps.
AEROSOL EUROPE: What are the benefits of laser welding for customers?
Harry Brühlmeier: Thanks to our technology, the inner surface remains unscathed, leaving the corrosion protection intact. In addition, there’s no need for reworking, which usually also involves considerable handling.
AEROSOL EUROPE: So what you’re saying is that although the sheet is only a few tenths of a millimetre thick, you can weld on one side while the paint remains untouched on the other side?
Harry Brühlmeier: That’s right. The sheet thickness of containers is between two and four tenths of a millimetre. At the beginning, this goal appeared almost unreachable, and we only managed to realise our conceptions with the greatest of effort and extensive trials. To implement this process, we developed the corresponding parameters over the course of a lengthy series of tests.
AEROSOL EUROPE: Your innovation saves the customer a few production steps and significantly simplifies the manufacturing process.
Harry Brühlmeier: That’s what we’re trying to achieve, namely great customer benefit through fewer process steps, alongside huge savings potential.
AEROSOL EUROPE: Don’t users find this laser technology complicated?
Harry Brühlmeier: The use of laser technology is straightforward, and we work out the process parameters in advance. It’s like a milling machine where the parameters are the instruments for the geometry, speed and feed rate. There are a small number of parameters; the program is ready to go. If they want to, the customer can do some fine-tuning and then start the process. While laser technology is not a standard in the packaging industry, it is more established in other sectors such as the automotive industry, where it is likewise necessary to guarantee high availability.
AEROSOL EUROPE: What accomplishments can you expect to achieve with your machines? Does the laser impact the line throughput compared to existing systems?
Harry Brühlmeier: That’s a valid question. Well, the line throughput varies greatly depending on the container.
Ultimately, the laser welding itself takes only fractions of a second. As such, it’s no slower than conventional systems. The modular design makes it possible to realise higher speeds with a twin set-up, if that’s what you require.
AEROSOL EUROPE: Is the fine laser-welded joint sufficiently stable?
Harry Brühlmeier: Our tensile tests demonstrate that as a general rule, the holding fixture or bracket plates bend and tear open, while the weld seam holds firm. Tensile loads of over 50 kg per holding fixture are the rule rather than the exception, in which case the components will fail before the weld seam. It can thus be said that the laser-welded joint is extremely stable.
AEROSOL EUROPE: What is your outlook on the coming financial year 2019?
Harry Brühlmeier: We are convinced that we will be able to realise interesting projects and businesses with our groundbreaking technologies. The market is under constant pressure, which is why innovations are in demand. The streamlining of production and the reduction of production costs are perennial issues. We are looking forward with confidence to a strong business year.
AEROSOL EUROPE: Mr. Brühlmeier, thank you for this conversation.